Tuesday, December 24, 2013

On a Warm Winter’s Night

The Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA held another installment of their weekly Open Mic Nite Series on Sunday  December 22nd. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the venue due to some wintry weather conditions which were not conducive for traveling. But, as the second day of winter came with unseasonably high temperatures, I was able to return to The Living Room to partake of the music, poetry, and camaraderie I have enjoyed since the very first one I had been to over a year ago. I soon witnessed the room filling to capacity with many of its denizens eagerly lining up in order to add their name to the sign in list so they could share their talents during the evening.

The evening began with some welcoming words given by the series’ co host Andrew Oldfield who then introduced his co host AP (aka Andrew Paul) whose vocal manipulations of sounds and music delighted the gathering. AP was followed by the first name appearing on the sign in list which was duo know as Woodrow www.facebook.com/wearewoodrow consisting of Theresa Ratliff on vocals and Brian Bramkamp on Guitar and Vocals. During their performance, it was announced the duo will be the opening act for the Rick Springfield Concert scheduled to take place at The Sherman Theater located in Stroudsburg, PA on Friday March 28th.

In preparation for the event, the duo played a number of songs for the gathering which were written during the 1980s when Mr. Springfield experienced a high degree of popularity in his musical career which coupled with his appearances on the soap opera “General Hospital.” One of the songs they performed was titled, “Gypsy” written by Stevie Nicks and appears on the Fleetwood Mac Album, “Mirage” which was released in 1982. The song relates to Ms. Nicks’ recollections of the time before she and Lindsay Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac’s Guitarist) became members of the band and how, during the time of the song’s writing, she imaginatively went back to the velvet underground clothing store located in San Francisco, CA of which Grace Slick and Janis Joplin shopped and became “the Gypsy that I was.” This, and other songs from the era, flowed from the duo who added their own currents to the rivers formed by their lyrics and melodies.

Woodrow was followed by a electric guitarist known as “Pinky” (aka Justin Scalia) whose riffs filled the room with their musicality while he sung along inspiring many to lend their voices to the songs as well. Pinky was followed by Kes who began performing on Ukulele and later changed his instrument to Guitar as he delighted the audience with his songs and energetic style. Kes was followed by the evening’s co host Andrew Oldfield who played a number of songs on his electric guitar while sharing the lyrics of some with the gathering through his voice while being accompanied on acoustic guitar by a member of the gathering whose name I failed to retrieve for this article. Andrew was followed by a performance given by The Da Da Dum Theater.

The piece presented by The Da Da Dum Theater was purported to be Christmas Play titled, “Frogs.” It featured Kes (who performed earlier in the evening) and his friend Ellis with both delivering a high energy performance which exceeded the expectations of its author, Paul Adam Smeltz (yeah, that’s me), much to his personal delight. The Open Mic Nite’s co host Andrew Oldfield also participated in the production as he played a “Da Da Dum” rhythm on the drums after the skit’s punch line was delivered. Thus the name “Da Da Dum Theater” was derived. The work was well received by those present for the production. A break ensued after the conclusion of the performance in order for the featured band for the evening to set up their instruments.

The band known as “Rigbi” officially adopted its name in 2011 but many of its members had been sharing their love for music with audiences since 1998. From the very first notes which emanated from their instruments, the live performance entranced the Living Room’s audience as the band presented songs that echoed throughout the venue with a clarity one often finds created in a recording studio. Their transformative melodies and lyrics penetrated the consciousness similar to the manner in which the bands “The Police” and “U2” did in their earlier days. Yet, the sounds emanating from Rigbi transcends those of these bands with a sentient lexicon of their own as they communicate on the level of the soul.

Rigbi consists of Jon Irizarry on guitar and vocals, Pat Maloney on keyboard and percussion, Randy Sabo on bass, and Brian Cornish on drums and are from Sparta, NJ. During their performance, those who were uncannily un transfixed by the music enough to dance, did so adding to the musical presence of the band. Rigbi concluded their set with some selections from their new CD titled, “Visionary” which lingered in the mind long after the final notes quieted themselves so they could be more completely absorbed into the essence of all who experienced them. You can learn more about Rigbi and their music by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/rigbimusic.

Another break ensued after Rigbi’s performance so their equipment could be removed from the stage. During this time, many among the gathering partook of the opportunity to meet with the band’s members to share a conversation with them while a few others took the time to reluctantly return to the ordinary plain of awareness from that which they traversed to during their musical journeys with the band. In any case, the time of the break had passed and the next performer was about to share her talents upon the stage.

The familiar sight of guitarist Dee (aka Songbird) bought a smile of recollection to those who had heard her during previous Open Mic Nites. Her voice complimented each song while giving it a depth in which those who listen to it can immerse oneself. Dee was followed by a new comer to The Living Room known as “Say” whose touch of his guitar served as a punctuator to the poetic words he shared. This led to many eyes laden with the perceptive concepts he conveyed until they were lightened by the realizations they revealed. Say was followed by another newcomer known simply as “Christina” who revealed her poetic soul through the words of Peruvian born Rapper Felipe Andres Coronel (aka Immortal Technique). The song she selected to share is titled, “You Never Know” whose power was amplified by her spoke word rendition of it and led a tear to flow in its thoughtful journey from the heart to the eye.

Christina was followed by a guitarist known as Fozzy whose return to The Living Room proved to be an enchantment as his folksy rhythms joyously filled the room. During his set, Fozzy was joined by a new comer known as Brian who played guitar with him. As Fozzy completed his performance, Brian took the stage to share his musical talents while being accompanied on drums by Brian Cornish who performed earlier with Rigbi. The solid performance of the songs were enhanced as he closed each with their lyrics trailing off into a whisper until their final utterances were echoed within each listener. Brian was followed by Benjamin Ordonez whose heart wrenching rendition of the poetry he shared struck a chord with every listener he touched with his voice as he closed out the final set of performers who were listed to share their talents.

However, the spirit of the season came upon the hosts of The Open Mic Nite and, as their hearts grew (as noted by AP) three sizes larger, those who had placed their names upon the waiting list were afford the opportunity to share their gifts. They were Electric Guitarist Dave Pugh whose familiar chord changes and songs resonated throughout the room, Brad whose a cappella performance provided a new dimension to the piece he presented, and Theomar Chakey Francois who closed the event with his joyous high energy performance which included a song he wrote for the season. These performers, along with those who shared their talents throughout the evening, gave special meaning to the final remarks given by AP which were, “Everything is more pleasurable when it grows three sizes.” You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Sunday December 22nd Open Mic Nite in The Living Room 2013 Gallery Part 5 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152011186945421.1073741872.636000420&type=1.

The next installment of the Living Room Open Mic Nite Series will take place on Sunday December 29th beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. The featured performer is scheduled to be Billy Mack www.billymackcollector.bandcamp.com who was the original host of the series before he left the area to live in the Northwestern region of the United States. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with an audience are welcomed to do so. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series by Exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom.

In addition to the Open Mic Nites presented at The Living Room, the venue also holds a Gallery which presents the work of visual artists from around the area. Their current exhibit is their December show featuring the works of Jennifer Amazon, Emilio Arostegui, Nova Chan, and Jody Singer and will be on display until December 30th. The next exhibit will an open group show inviting all local artists to place their work in the gallery. Those who wish to do so may drop off their work at the venue on Friday January 3rd from 6-9pm. The Artists’ Reception is scheduled for Saturday January 4th beginning at 6pm with the exhibit continuing to be on display until January 30th. The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Flair For The Local Soho

The So-ho in the BURG Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artists’ Reception on Friday December 13th for their exhibition celebrating the 9th Anniversary of The Local Flair Magazine. The work presented in the show served as a retrospective of the publication consisting of the images provided by the many talented artists and photographers whose work introduced the more than 50 issues to the public over the years through its covers. Honoring their contributions to the magazine by placing them in a gallery setting provided those who visited the venue an opportunity to reflect upon the meaningful and life enriching moments they expereinced as they opened an issue and were encouraged by what they discovered with each turn of a page.

From the very first issue, a hidden sophisticated beauty was revealed not only to be a part of the Pocono Region experience but within each reader as well. The magazine introduced its readers to the numerous alcoves placed throughout the area that were unknown to even the most adventurous of local residents. Few realized the influx of people from the metropolitan areas of the country who came to live in the more natural settings of Monroe County, PA during the 1980s and 90s would bring to the area an elegance reflected in their refined taste.

Ali Keblish Schratt, owner and publisher of The Local Flair Magazine, was one of these happy few. During the early 2000s, she realized how much her life was enriched by the restaurants, boutiques, and spas she had visited and developed a desire to share her discoveries with others. Her desire led her to create the publication in 2004 which not only provided information about these establishments to its readership but also inspired them to go beyond the boundaries of their financial limitations and aspire to live a more cultured life. Ms. Schratt endeavors to produce a magazine her readers and the establishments she loved deserved seemed a daunting one, but her background in the arts and dedication to her dream not only became a reality but the stuff the dreams of others are made of as well.

Those who frequented the stores and shops the magazine was distributed quickly noticed how unique it was compared to other locally produced publications. It’s high quality paper was smoother to the touch allowing the vibrant colors of the images upon its cover to maintain their hues and did not rub off upon one’s fingers as those printed on newsprint did. The words, “Priceless, Take one” appeared upon the Local Flair’s cover which not only told the individual who was fortunate enough to pick up this particular copy that is was free, but, in introducing a new way of communicating it was a free publication, the magazine would also be a innovative factor in the lives of its readers from that point on.

The reception at The So-ho in the BURG Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA was a well attended one filling the huge space with those who were and continue to be touched by the magazine and all it offers. The hope to realize a lifestyle depicted throughout its pages permeated the gallery and beyond its walls. Conversations echoing an appreciation of the magazine were enhanced by the delicious culinary offerings of Chef G (aka Guarino Cortese) chefIIgo@yahoo.com, Marco Antonio’s www.facebook.com/MarcoAntoniosRestaurant, and Kitchen Chemistry www.facebook.com/pages/kitchen-chemistry/245276232196. Still, as numerous as they were, the gathering was merely a sampling of all whose lives are influenced by the publication.

Unfortunately, the pervasive economic environment the area has experienced throughout living memory continues to prohibit many from partaking of, what many consider, the luxurious amenities presented in the magazine. There is too little money left over from purchasing enough food to feed one’s children and pay the bills necessary to maintain a livable home to buy a $200 sweater. But, being aware that a world outside their poverty exists may inspire someone to effect the changes needed to improve the financial conditions of him/herself and his/her neighbors. And, if and when this person comes forth, it may be someone who was inspired by what they have seen in The Local Flair Magazine. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Friday December 13th Artists’ Reception celebrating the 9th Anniversary of The Local Flair Magazine in The Stroudsburg Art District 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151420282390421.539464.636000420&type=3.

The Local Flair Magazine is a full-color bi-monthly publication which celebrates the art of living in Northeast PA and beyond featuring pictorials and articles relating to art, fashion, food, and natural living. The magazine also seeks to promote excellence in community businesses, services, and efforts and has become established as a guide whose editorial coverage, staff, and advertisers can be trusted. You can learn more about The Local Flair Magazine and all it offers to the community by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/LocalFlair.

The So-Ho in the BURG Gallery is located on the corner of 6th and Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA which was the location of the J. J. Newberry’s store. The gallery opened its doors to the public in April of 2012 and is owned by Andrea Robbins Rimberg who has become well known for her exuberant energies and creativity as many of her pieces are on display in prestigious galleries throughout the United States. The “A Retrospective of Local Flair Covers” exhibit is being shown in concurrence with the gallery’s exhibition titled, “HOLIDAZE: My Favorite Things” which will continue to be displayed until December 31st. The next exhibition to be presented at the Gallery is yet to be announced. You can learn more about So-Ho in the BURG, their future exhibits, and all the gallery has to offer the creative community by contacting them at 570-807-1623.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Silly Artists. Living Rooms Are For Kids

The Living Room Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artists’ Reception for their December Exhibition on Saturday December 7th featuring the work of Jennifer Amazon, Emilio Arostegui, Nova Chan, and Jody Singer. Along with the art work that was on display, the event served as a fund raiser for a non profit group known as “Lizzie’s Circle” while music for the evening was provided by The Pennsylvania Sunland Singers. The reception proved to be another example of what occurs when excellent art, great music, and a desire to redefine how much fun an gallery exhibition could be combines to enhance the experience of the arts in the local community.

Upon entering the gallery, one could not help but notice the sizable population of balloons who gathered themselves together in groups as they awaited the expected youthful visitors to the venue to arrive. They seemed to be in the process of plotting their buoyant escapades as they knew the children associated Lizzie’s Circle would be quick to utilize their aerodynamic qualities to express their playful nature. It wasn’t long after the arrival of the first groupings of the children before their potential was realized as one after another was grabbed and slapped in order to be transported from one hand motivated by gleeful delight to another.

This activity was merely observed by the “Adults” who accompanied the children through their aloof maturity until the dynamics of the fun filled antics overpowered their intimidations and encouraged many to join in. Balloons flying back and forth filled the air bouncing off surfaces until the penetrating nature of their essence made all forms of boundaries obsolete. Eventually, the distinction between child and adult blurred to the point of obscurity as the laughter embodying the room could only distinguished the ages of the participants through their degrees of vocal pitch. And, even then…..

The fun continued as the children were provided with an opportunity to finish drawings of some seasonal characters begun by a number of notable artist in the area who also assisted them in their creative endeavors. The heads of Reindeers, Elves, and Snowmen quickly became embodied with forms enabling them to move about in the imagination of all who saw the completed anatomy. Colors of all sorts were added which enhanced the imagination even more especially since some of the choice of hues weren’t normally associated with the subjects. But, such are the blessings of creativity and a joyous sound filled the air as each colorful alternative to what was expected became discovered.

It was during this time that the band known as The Pennsylvania Sunland Singers took the stage to perform their melee of joyous tunes. The fun folksy tunes touched each heart who heard it with a smile that reflects the divine essence of the soul and fills it with a laughter realizing the eternal beauty of its nature. The group consisted of Songwriter Eric Funn on guitar and vocals, Kathleen Freeman on Ukulele, Zeke Cats on Violin, Trumpet and an assortment of other instruments, Christopher Cicala on Guitar, and Renee De Moonunit on Percussion who had to eventually go home to care for her child which led to Jerry Fels and Vid Ryan to take her place. Another guitarist joined the group later in the evening but I, unfortunately, neglected to get his name.

A break in the music ensued as the results of the creative endeavors of the children could be recognized. An overwhelming show of appreciation for their imaginative talents where enhanced by the sums of money spent upon the pieces in a special auction held to benefit both The Living Room and the work of Lizzie’s Circle. Well deserved pride filled the faces of the children who saw their work being a part of financial competition as one enthusiastic bidder sought to outdo the other. The amount raised through the auction was over $750 with over $350 going to help continue the work of both groups.

The auction was followed by a raffle in which attendees of the Artists’ Reception could win a piece created by one of the featured artists. The excitement felt during previous occasions when the moment to check whether the numbers upon the ticket one purchased matched that of the ticket being drawn filled many with the familiar pangs of anticipation. The frequent burst of achievement sounded throughout the room as one item was claimed after another.

It was during this time when the gallery’s curator, Shane Izykowski, shared his welcoming remarks and news relating to the gallery and its endeavors to enhance the arts in the area. The winners of the Sky Gallery Competition were announced. The competition was sponsored by Adams Outdoor Advertising www.facebook.com/pages/Adams-Outdoor-Advertising/109436519613 and gave area artists an opportunity to present their work on billboards aligning the highways of Northeast PA allowing motorists to experience their creativity. They selected artists were Airbrush Artist Peter Ambush www.peterambushart.com, Painter John Kolbek www.facebook.com/pages/The-Art-of-John-Kolbek/282847935078689, and Photographer Marty Klotz. Congratulations to all the recipients of this great opportunity.

The lateness of the hour led many who had brought their children to the event to take them home so they could begin dreaming of the adventures they had at The Living Room. It was about this time when The Pennsylvania Sunland Singers retook the stage to continue their performance. The absence of a great number of children allowed the group to perform several pieces some may deem inappropriate for tender ears to hear outside the home. However, the charm inherent in the musicality of the group persisted creating more smiles among the audience who reveled in the more adult (even to the point of being shirtless) oriented performance. You can learn more about The Pennsylvania Sunland Singers and their music by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/sunlandsingers.

As the final notes of The Pennsylvania Sunland Singers echoed throughout the room, the remainder of the crowd began to end their adventures at The Living Room by going home. This left many who had not yet explored the art upon the walls of the gallery with an ample opportunity to do so. One can not help but to be overwhelmingly impressed by the creative power possessed by Jennifer Amazon, Emilio Arostegui, Nova Chan, and Jody Singer as their combined work reached off the wall and found a home within the confines of the soul.

Unlike previous Living Room exhibits whose individual approaches and styles toward the endeavors of each featured artists differed from their fellow presenters creating a clearly definable contrast between each grouping of work, the December exhibit presented artists whose creative similarities created a flow allowing each visitor to gently move from one piece to another while embracing an imaginative narrative inspired by the images. Although the work of each artist embodied a distinctive style unique to its creator, the distinguishing qualities did not impose themselves upon the viewer as they sought to almost consciously compliment each other through their subtleties.

However, the fact that this subtlety exists, the viewer of the work in its entirety becomes encouraged to explore each piece more deeply in order to discover the nuanced qualities of the individual artist. The facets of creativity they encounter through their expeditions enhances not only the art but the viewer as well as the nuanced qualities of their own essence is revealed through their heightened perception of the work’s. The subtle shifts we employ so frequently as we meet one situation and/or person after another until we jadedly fail to recognize their distinguishing characteristics becomes more apparent as we reflect upon the work presented in The Living Room exhibition more closely as its soul begins to create a mirror for our soul to see itself more clearly.

Besides being an extremely gifted artists whose images challenge the imagination to surpass those she creates on canvas, Nova Chan has shared her talents in the education of others so they may realize their own creative potential. These educational venues include The Peter’s Valley Craft Center which is located in Layton, NJ along with numerous private or group classes in Therapeutic Art. Her work can be seen in several venues in the Monroe County area and beyond including having a table at The Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA where she displays her art, jewelry, and magnetic pieces during their Indie First Friday event. You can learn more about Nova Chan by exploring her website at www.novachan.blogspot.com.

Jody Singer is mostly a self-taught artist who has worked in several mediums including pen and ink, clay, fiber arts, painting, photography, and mixed media receiving several awards for his endeavors. Mr. Singer has created classes and workshops for adults and children for various art related organizations and created The Hands In Art Community Arts Center in East Stroudsburg, PA. He also became The Cultural Arts Director for Hemlock Farms Community Association for which he served for several years. Mr. Singer recently created Mountainside Arts which offers a holistic mind, body, and spiritual approach to art education. You can learn more about Mountainside Arts by exploring its website at www.mountainsidearts.com.

Jennifer Amazon is the Director and Educator for the Amazon ArtEd program and is well known for creating art related programs and opportunities for children and adults to transform their creative desires into tangible pieces of art. Being an icon in Art Education, Ms. Amazon’s influence in the lives of those she teaches will assuredly be experienced by art lovers who seek out meaningful expressions for some time to come. She also runs the monthly Amazon Art Party which is the first Drink and Draw in the Poconos. You can learn more about Jennifer Amazon and all she offers the creative community by exploring her Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/Iamazon.

Emilio Arostegui utilizes a variety of mediums as he seeks to create an emotional dynamism through his work. These include paintings and photography whose effects upon the individual who views the work becomes uncannily haunting as it summons the spirit of the innermost realms of his/her nature to make itself known. Mr. Arostegui has presented his work in numerous exhibitions and received several awards for his endeavors. The most recent was receiving Third Place for his work titled, “Looking Around,” at the Prime Photography Gallery located in Stroudsburg, PA during their Reflections Exhibitions which continues to be on display until December 24th at The Stroudsburg Studios in Stroudsburg, PA. You can learn more about Emilio Arostegui by exploring his Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Judasfxcom/67771745591.

As mentioned earlier, in addition to the music and art presented throughout the event, the Artists’ Reception served to be a fund raiser for Lizzie’s Circle which is a non-profit organization who strives to help families of pediatric cancer patients residing in Monroe County, PA to receive active treatment for their illness. They work with these families by assisting them with finances and other specific needs as they arise. You can learn more about Lizzie’s Circle, what they offer the community, and how you can be a part of their worthwhile endeavors by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Lizzies-Circle/215418481867482.

The Artists’ Reception held at The Living Room Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA for their December show featuring the work of Jennifer Amazon, Emilio Arostegui, Nova Chan, and Jody Singer proved to be a fun evening filled with childlike enthusiasm, enriching conversation, life affirming opportunities to help those in need, joyous music, mesmerizing art, and some really delicious food including some eternally yummy Lasagna provided by Vinny D’s www.facebook.com/VinnyDsDeliCatering. In other words, it was a great evening creating many wonderful memories as each attendee took home an anticipation to relive the experience the following month when another Artists’ Reception at The Living Room Gallery will take place. I hope to see you there. In the meantime, you’ll be able to find more photograph taken during the December Artists’ Reception in The Living Room 2013 Gallery Part 5 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152011186945421.1073741872.636000420&type=1.

The Living Room Gallery December exhibition featuring the work of Jennifer Amazon, Emilio Arostegui, Nova Chan, and Jody Singer will be on display until December 30th, 2013. Their next exhibit which will be a group show inviting local artists to participate utilizing any medium, topic, and/or style they wish to explore and present. The Artists’ Reception will be held on Saturday January 4th, 2014 beginning at 6pm. The work will continue to be on display until January 30th, 2014. Submissions of work will be accepted on Friday January 3rd, 2014 from 6 until 9pm. Please contact the gallery’s curator, Shane Izykowski, at 570-856-1001 for more information.

The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. The Art Gallery is curated by Shane Izykowski. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 for more information about the venue, what it offers to the community, and how to participate and become involved with the art related work it does.

In addition to their exhibitions, The Living Room presents a weekly Open Mic Nite which occurs every Sunday Evening beginning at 7pm. Musicians, Poets, Writers, and anyone who would like to share their talents with an eagerly accepting audience are welcomed to participate. There is occasionally a featured band or performer scheduled each week that enhances the enjoyment of the event. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series at it’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom?ref=ts&fref=ts.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Fifth Dimension in Photography

The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA hosted a lecture given by Rev. Christina Lynn Whited titled, “Photos from the Fifth Dimension” on Saturday December 7th in one of the venue’s three theaters. The lecture consisted of interpretations of photographic images captured by Rev. Whited and her students at The Circle of Intention School of Intuitive Sciences. The images were, according to Rev. Whited, of beings and vessels who occasionally traverse through the inter-dimensional portals separating our common day reality with alternative ones in order to impart their eternal massages of love and to protect the beings of this world from self inflicted harm.

As revealed by Rev. Whited, the images of these beings and structures can be seen in cloud formations which changes in “response to our conscious thoughts” and those photographic images most commonly attributed to camera lens glare and lighting effects reflecting off of water droplets or dust particles. It was further revealed during the lecture the images captured are unique to the individual who operates the camera and the technique they employ to photograph the objects. Rev. Whited’s technique, which was adopted upon after a suggestion was made by her spiritual guide, is to allow herself to fall backwards and to take the picture while doing so. This photographic method allows a certain degree of blur to take place allowing the images of the 5th dimensional denizens (none of which was Marilyn McCoo) to be seen more distinctly.

The lecture was an enjoyable one and it generated a great deal of questions and comments from the modest number of attendees whose faith based experiences were validated by the content of the lecture and the supportive photographic evidence presented by Rev. Whited. There was a great deal of camaraderie in the like minded gathering who sought to share their attuned spiritual perceptions with one another in a loving and non judgmental manner. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the lecture in The Special Events 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151866787260421.636000420&type=3.

The Circle of Intention School of Intuitive Sciences is located in High Bridge, NJ offering classes, workshops, and field trips in all areas of spiritual development while constantly affirming to the universe a desire to #gain “Gentle Healing for The Planet and Peace and Harmony for All.” The facility is headed by Rev. Christina Lynn Whited who is well known for her expertise in Animal Mysticism, Past Lives, Ghosts, Energy Healing, Inter-Dimensional Photography, and Dowsing upon which she has spoken at national conventions, libraries, to community groups, and has shared her knowledge in Adult Education venues. Their next event will be an opportunity to partake in some Inter-Dimensional Photography at The Falls in High Bridge, NJ on Saturday December 21st. You can learn more about The Circle of Intention School of Intuitive Sciences and its offerings by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Circle-Of-Intention/142664785759815.

In addition to hosting events such as the “Photos from the Fifth Dimension” lecture given by Rev. Christina Lynn Whited, The Pocono Community Theater and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA  presents a number of films and culturally enriching events throughout the year. These include a Exhibitions featuring the work of Tim Weaver and Shirley Epstein which is currently on display and will remain so until January 5th along with screenings of the films “It‘s A Wonderful Life” on Sunday December 15th, “White Christmas” on Sunday December 22nd, and “Die Hard” on Sunday December 29th as part of their Holiday Film Revival Series. Please Explore The Pocono Community Theater Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/PoconoCommunityTheater?ref=ts&fref=ts for more information.

Friday Night Hawks

The Shoppes at The Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA presented another installment of their monthly Indie First Fridays event on Friday December 6th. The upcoming holiday season brought a number of people to the event as new shops in the complex were either open or on the cusp of being open for business. The spirit of the season was further enhanced by the plentiful conversation which filled the evening with its good will and cheer.

The live music for the evening was performed by The Hawk Owls who was the first band to appear for the event when it began earlier in 2013. The group traveled from Sussex County, NJ and consisted of Bradley White and Mandolin, Guitar, and Vocals, Peter Lister on Guitar and Vocals, James Lashway on Bass and Vocals, and Mike Alexander on Banjo and Vocals. Their rendition of the bluegrass and folk tunes they performed filled the Castle Halls with toe tapping delights leading several of the attendees reeling in dance. Their return brought back a great many memories to a number of people who have attended the Indie First Fridays since its inception as well as created some wonderful ones who had experienced them for the first time. You can learn more about The Hawk Owls by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/TheHawkOwls.

As the memorable music played throughout the evening, those who attended the Indie First Friday event traversed throughout the Castle Inn and discovered a number of new shops offering their wares along with a warm smile to those who came to visit them. These included The Surprise Shoppe owned by a woman named Doreen who was in the midst of determining where the best areas to place her merchandise were. The well established shops were also on hand for the event and their keepers welcomed all who came to visit. These included Orion’s Toys who entreated everyone who entered to play, Custom Creations who offers custom made clothing and alterations for both men and women, and Dirt and Vine www.facebook.com/dirtandvine offering samplings of wine created by Big Creek Vineyard and Winery www.facebook.com/BigCreekVineyardandWinery along with earth ware pottery and jewelry for many to enjoy.

In addition to the new and previously established shops in the complex, a number of vendors lined the halls enticing visitors to partake of the magical qualities of their wares. These included Kitchen Goddess Nina www.facebook.com/TheKitchenGoddessNina who offers a variety of earthen goods designed to enliven the body and the soul through their essential aromas, Andrea Brock www.facebook.com/pages/Andrea-Brock-Healing/163550859721 whose Jewelry is embedded with healing stones whose energies attracts those who are in need of their unique properties, and Wendi Marionello whose jewelry brought a smile to those who envisioned it adoring their physical beings while enhancing their soul with its beauty.

The Castle Inn Gallery, which is located within The Castle Inn Complex, held an Artists’ Reception featuring the work of Jim Smeltz and Joseph Mooney. A sizable number of people attended the event with several arriving to specifically partake of the gallery’s offering while others came to visit as part of their Indie First Friday experience. In either case, the exhibit inspired numerous conversations remarking on the qualities of the work and the feelings it provoked as it was visually pleasing to the eye and soul.

The exhibition at The Castle Inn Gallery will be on display until December 30th. The Gallery’s next exhibit will feature the work of Artists and Photographers whose creative images appear in the 7th Issue of The Forwardian Arts Society’s www.facebook.com/pages/The-Forwardian-Arts-Society/91146283760 Literary and Arts Magazine titled, “Forwardian” www.facebook.com/pages/Forwardian/146331875478830. The Artists Reception will occur on Saturday January 11th, 2014 beginning at 6pm and also serve as a Publication Party to celebrate the Issue’s publication which was presented online on Tuesday December 10th at www.theforwardianartssociety.com/Forwardian-7-Contents.html. You can learn more about The Castle Inn Gallery and all it has to offer by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Castle-Inn-Gallery/159174520808670.

The art, music, crafts, holiday offerings, and the gentile conversations indicative of these joyous events at The Castle Inn created a well accustomed desire among those who visited to eagerly await the opportunity to partake of another Indie First Friday event. However, there was talk about changing the time and date of the event for various reasons. So, be sure to check their Facebook Page for news of any scheduling changes prior to attending their next event. Still, regardless of what date or time the next event will take place, those who arrive are sure to find the delights of their experienced undiminished by the friendly atmosphere prevalent throughout The Castle Inn. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the December 6th Indie First Friday in The Castle Inn 2013 Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151630970105421.1073741832.636000420&type=1.

The Indie First Friday currently takes place (as its name suggests) the first Friday of the month. The event is designed to acquaint visitors to The Shoppes at The Castle Inn and all those who set up shop in the complex. Experiences in Art, Crafts, and music is offered visitors along with some refreshments provided by various vendors. The next Indie First Friday to take place within The Shoppes at The Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA is currently scheduled to take place on Friday January 3rd, 2014 beginning at 5pm. However, as mentioned earlier, there may be a change in the time and date of the event. So, again, be sure to check their Facebook Page prior to attending. You’ll be able to learn more about The Indie First Fridays by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/IndieFirstFridays?ref=ts&fref=ts.

The Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA was built in 1906 and was the last of the great hotels to be built in area. It housed an ice cream parlor, a mosaic floor, bowling alleys, a pool, and a billiard parlor. Performances were presented which included those given by Opera legend Enrico Caruso, Marching Band Leader John Phillip Sousa, and Big Band Leader Fred Waring along with the Pennsylvanians. This all came to an abrupt end when fire touched the Inn in the 1970s and it laid dormant until 2005 when it was purchased by Theresa Veltri and Frank Paccione who continues their endeavors to bring the Inn back as an asset to the community and all who visit it. Their next events will include “Cocoa with Santa,” the 2nd Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, and a performance given by “Sounds of Strings” on Saturday December 14th along with a Breakfast and Trolley Ride with Santa on Saturday December 21st. You’ll be able to learn more about The Shoppes at The Castle Inn and all they have to offer by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/historiccastleinn?ref=ts&fref=ts.

Friday, December 06, 2013

The 2013 Winter Choral Concert at ESU

The East Stroudsburg University (ESU) of PA Music Department presented their Winter Choral Concert in The Cecilia S. Cohen Recital Hall which is located within the Campus’ Fine and Performing Arts Center on Wednesday December 4th. Throughout the concert, the university’s A Cappella Ensemble and Concert Choir performed of a variety of seasonal compositions which were pleasing to the ear. Both groups consist of Students, faculty members, and residents of the local community whose voices blended beautifully together chorally while those members who served as soloist enhanced the performance through their uncanny vocal qualities.

The A Cappella Ensemble began the concert which was under the direction of Associate Professor James Maroney. A thoughtful beauty touched the ear of all who experienced the performance as one song after another was draped in the elegance of the ensemble’s voices. The selections ranged from the European Classical to American Folk as well as pieces traditional to the holiday season. Soloists Becky Roeber, Shaun Copeland, Marcus Howard, and Elena Zarvos created a vocal nuance to each piece they participated in allowing the audience to discover qualities in the composition which might had otherwise been overlooked.

After the ensemble’s performance concluded, there were several announcements made in regard to the gathering. One of which referred to an invitation the group received to give a command performance for a nationally known head of state in his residence. However, since it has been deemed that the details of the performance must remain secretive for the time being, it might be inappropriate reveal them in this article. Yet, they deserve a great number of congratulatory sentiments for the honor that has been bestowed upon them and I’m sure many who read this will be glad to do so even without knowing what it is.

After a brief intermission, the East Stroudsburg University’s Concert Choir entered the hall along with Associate Professor James Maroney who led this group of music lovers as well. A recital hall filled beyond capacity greeted the singers with a great deal of enthusiasm as its members took their places upon the stage. The performance began with a composition written by Johannes Brahms titled, “O Schone Naucht” and continued to flow through one musical ebb after another. Soloists Becky Roeber, Charles Hueber, Rodney Young, Sophia Thompson, and Laura Beimfohr lent their talents to a number of selections. A smaller choir was formed for the Frantz Biebl composition titled, “Ave Maria” consisting of Tara Nylander, Carol Demarest (who served as a soloist), Andrea Reiter, Sophia Thompson, Jacqueline Prestoy, Victoria Oberdick, Shaun Copland, and Marcus Howard (who served as a soloist).

The magnificent concert concluded with Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Te Deum” with the choir being accompanied by Cellist Audrey Simons, Charlie Cahn on Timpani, and by Pauline Fox (who also served as the choral accompanist on Piano) on organ. The conclusion of the piece led to a grateful applause which echoed throughout the entire Performing Arts Center. Many excited conversations evolved around the satisfying performance as friends and families of the participants eagerly awaited their emergence from their gathering places located behind the scenes to congratulate them with celebration of their achievement. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the East Stroudsburg University’s Winter Choral Concert in The ESU 2013 Gallery at  www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151870080355421.636000420&type=3.

The East Stroudsburg University of PA Music Department next musical presentations will be their Tuba Christmas concert held at The Pocono Inne Town in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday December 7th, their Winter Band Concert in The Cecilia S. Cohen Recital Hall which will be held on Sunday December 8th, and the student voice recitals featuring the students of James Maroney and Wendy Grice will be held on Tuesday December 10th. The next Choral Concert will be their Spring Choral Concert scheduled to take place on Wednesday April 30th in The Cecilia S. Cohen Recital Hall. Students and faculty along with members of the community are invited to participate. Rehearsals take place every Tuesday evening from 7:15pm until 9:15pm beginning Tuesday January 21st, 2014. Please Explore The ESU Choral and Vocal Website at www.esu.edu/music/sing or The ESU Vocal Performing Arts Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/ESU-Vocal-Performing-Arts/103816162994926 for more information.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A December OMN

The Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA held another installment of their weekly Open Mic Nite Series on Sunday  December 1st. I had been away the previous week and it was great to be back to the venue in which I had enjoyed many great performances during the year. This evening proved to be consistent with my previous experiences as one exceptional performance after another took place.

The evening began with some welcoming words given by the series’ co host Jessie Roth (aka JR) who ended her remarks with the introduction of one of her co hosting comrades. AP (aka Andrew Paul) took the stage and  delighted the gathering with his vocal manipulations creating a variety of sounds inspiring laughter and awe from everyone who heard him. AP was followed by the first name appearing on the sign in list which was that of Brad B. who had performed upon the Open Mic Stage several times before utilizing a variety of creative modalities during the course of his presentations.

Tonight, Brad demonstrated his impressive skill in in the art of Rap and was joined on stage by AP during his set. Brad was followed by Poet Amy K whose words from poems written early in her life mingled with those created recently until they flowed into a oneness inspiring those who listened to speculatively hear what the remnants of her future work may contain. Amy was followed by Electric Guitarist Dave Pugh whose familiar chord changes were enhanced by some additional technology he had brought with him which added a mystical quality to his performance as the echoing resonance he created filled the room.

As the notes conjured by Dave’s skillful fingering dissipated into the ethereal domains, a duo known as Timo www.theteamo.com came to bless the mic with their talents. Timo (aka Team O) consisted of Timothy Owen on vocal and guitar and Eric Luncefor on percussion whose presence at the event coincided with a concert tour they were engaged in to promote their CD titled, “More Than This” when they heard of the venue and decided to share their music with its denizens. Their well composed lyrics and lively tunes transfixed the audience leading many to dance with abandonment while other sought to absorb the duo’s endeavors into every pore of their being.

The Living Room was still reeling from the outstanding performance given by Timo when it was announced another installment of The Da Da Dum Theater was about to take place. Previous presentations consisted of humorous material taken from established sources transcribed so they could be performed as theatrical pieces. However, the script for this presentation originated with Paul Adam Smeltz (yeah, that’s me) and was based upon an incident in his life.

The piece was titled, “The Girl in the Back Seat” and featured the poet known as Kitty and Timothy Owen of Timo. The Open Mic Nite’s co host Andrew Oldfield also participated in the production as he played a “Da Da Dum” rhythm on the drums after the skit’s punch line was delivered. Thus the name “Da Da Dum Theater” was derived. The work was well received as the portrayal of the characters was very well done. The Da Da Dum Theater presentation of “The Girl in the Back Seat” was followed by a poetic reading given by Kitty (now known as Kitty Meow) who remained on stage to share her words.

Kitty Meow’s voice lent a soothing aspect to the rhythmic delivery of her soul touching words. They had the ability to penetrate the heart by matching its beat with their own until the pulsating qualities of the life sustaining organ were enhanced by their essence. A break ensued after Kitty Meow allowed a thoughtful silence to accompany her words. A great deal of conversations relating to what had transpired already engulfed The Living Room. The velocity of which momentum of these sharings had gained proved to be a challenge to slow as the break came to its conclusion. Yet, a negotiated calmness created a conducive atmosphere as the remainder of those who were prepared to perform took their place before the mic.

The gathering was welcomed once again by the event’s co host Jessie Roth (aka JR) who shared her poetic works after a long absence from doing so. Her return to the spoken word was welcomed by the ears, hearts, and minds of the venue’s denizens as they addressed the emotions of love and anger seasoned with a touch of humor to allow their consumption a bit easier to digest. Jessie was followed by guitarist Kes whose songs never fails to bring a thoughtful smile to the face of those who hear them. The evening’s performance brought about a similar response from the audience as the beats of his compositions were amplified by co host Andrew Oldfield who accompanied him on drums.

Kes was followed by Poet Amy B whose words flowed through and within the gathering until they remained etched upon their beings. Amy was followed Chris Roberts who began his performance by playing an electric guitar while singing a number of songs as he was joined by Tycho and co host Andrew Oldfield who shared the house drum set with one another as they played its base. Later, Chris relinquished his guitar and began to astound the gathering with his verbal abilities as he moved from one rapping sequence to another with an incredible seamlessness.

Chris was followed by more rap as performed by Area 51 www.facebook.com/pages/Area-51/164212177012377 who consists of Kidd Marvel (aka David Livingstien) www.facebook.com/TheKiddsWorld and KaZpa (aka Ian Amrhein). Together they performed a number of crowd pleasing verbal rhythms as the intoxicating Erin Phillips-Joyce danced to emphasize the flow of their mesmeric words. Area 51 was followed by guitarist Tycho who is known not only for his talent but for his generosity as he often invites other musicians to share the mic with him. On this occasion, Dee Smoov Allen (aka Song Bird) and Kidd Marvel shared a number of songs together along with Andrew Oldfield who supported their endeavors on drums. The gathering of musicians eventually narrowed down to Dee and Tycho who sung a sweet and loving song to Serenity Starrlette Hamlin who stood closely by to be bathed in its beauty.

Tycho and friends were followed by electric guitarist Justin Scalia who ended the scheduled list of performances with a number of tunes that rocked the house. However, there was some time left before the evening was to conclude which allowed more performances to take place. This led to Jessie Roth taking to the stage to share more of her poetry with the group. She was followed by a verbal contest titled, “Blondie vs. Blondie” in which Brad B. matched his rapping talents against those of Kevin Tails Moucha with AP refereeing.

The battle went all three rounds with the winner of each decided upon by the audio vibrancy of the audience. There was little blood in the rhythmic exchange until Kevin was declared the winner as he remarked to Brad, “Next week” who shared a hi five with him. The entertaining melee was followed by a performance given by the folk artist known as C. O. G. whose songs and rendition of them allows the listener to explore their deeper content through the singer’s life experiences that gives them an unique substance. C. O. G. was joined for a number of songs by Brad B. who lent his own interpretation to the songs. C. O. G.’s performance ended with a poem her wrote and recited about Bob Dylan that may never appear on any of Mr. Dylan’s CDs as part of its liner notes.

The evening ended with smiles and memories which inspired the company of friends to look forward to the next installment of the Open Mic Nite series. For me, it was another great night filled with great music, poetry, and even greater conversation as I was afforded the opportunity to learn more about those who shared their talents and the love they have for their art. Like the rest of the gathering, I look forward to attending the next Open Mic  Nite. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during the Sunday December 1st Open Mic Nite in The Living Room 2013 Gallery Part 5 at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152011186945421.1073741872.636000420&type=1.

The next installment of the Living Room Open Mic Nite Series will take place on Sunday December 8th beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with an audience are welcomed. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series by Exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/OpenMicAtTheLivingRoom.

In addition to the Open Mic Nites presented at The Living Room, the venue also holds a Gallery which presents the work of visual artists from around the area. Their next exhibit will be their December show featuring the works of Jennifer Amazon, Emilio Arostegui, Nova Chan, and Jody Singer. The Artists’ Reception is scheduled for Saturday December 7th beginning at 6pm with musical guests The Pennsylvania Sunland Singers along with an opportunity to make a donation to Lizzie’s Circle. The exhibition will continue to be on display until December 30th. The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Living-Room/123978921059378 for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all.